MOVIES I'VE SEEN LATELY...

The Incredible Hulk: The first of two good sequels of I've seen lately. This is more of what I expected from a Hulk movie. While not a perfect movie by any stretch, it tells the story of Bruce Banner a hell of a lot better than Ang Lee did with his attempt. Gone were the annoying comic book panel transitions, and in came the Hulk Smashing, and more importantly, the Banner running. It felt like the old TV series, which always had the right formula down, and really paid big homages to that. Those homages made this movie feel more iconic. Some of the CG wasn't great, and I'd definitely say I liked the look of the first Hulk more, but overall this was a much more fun film.

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army: The second sequel in a row to over match it's predecessor, Hellboy 2 really married well the aesthetic that Guillermo del Toro honed in Pan's Labyrinth to the Hellboy mythos. The creatures were outstanding, with an insane attention to detail given to every last one of them, and let me tell you there are tons on display here! Not only was it visually more stunning, it just felt altogether more fun. The decision to make this more of a BPRD movie was a sound progression over the first one as well. In their expanded roles Abe Sapien, Liz, and the welcome addition of the gas man Johann Krauss perfectly played well with Ron Perlman's ever amazing portrayal of the title character. Of the two summer sequels, this one was tops all the way.

Meet Dave: This is a movie I may have skipped, but it was one of the few movies on my Icelandair flight that I hadn't seen, and was even remotely interested in. Anyways, the result wasn't as bad as I was expecting, and probably one of Eddie Murphy's better movies in awhile. Here, Eddie plays two roles, the first being a robot ship that looks like the captain of the ship, whom he also plays. The captain and his crew have come to Earth to find a missing rock that will save their planet. This is a family movie, but Eddie shows he can do quite a bit under those restrictions, and his robotic performance sorta reminded me of his Coming To America role. This is not a great movie by any means, but I was entertained, and I thank Eddie for keeping my mind off of the fact that I was 36,000 ft in the air for awhile.

Kung Fu Panda: This was a pretty fun movie. I mean, how can you go wrong with a Kung Fu animal movie anyway?! While it's no Pixar movie, the folks at Dreamworks always seem to come up with some decent flicks. The voice casting was fun with Jack Black in the lead role. The action was really good, and the animation was pretty well done. I want to also point out that the scattered 2D animation might've been even better! This one's worth a rental.

Disturbia: The rising star of Shia LeBeouf continued with this thriller. This is a pretty solid movie with a good cast, engaging story, and excellent pacing. The director, DJ Caruso, really knew when to turn up the juice on this, and everyone plays along perfectly. The heavy of the movie is the always excellent William Morse, who turns in one hell of a creepy performance. I like what Shia does on screen, and I'm looking forward to Eagle Eye, when it's released on DVD later this month, as it's also directed by Caruso.

The Happening: So many people hate this movie. Maybe they're sick of M.Night, or maybe they didn't get what he was going for, or maybe they just plain felt it was bad. I'm not going to try to argue, but while I felt it wasn't the Shaman's best, it wasn't a bad flick by any stretch. I thought he was going for a real old school type of sci-fi flick, while trying to get real everyman perspectives, and I think he succeeded on both levels. I'm also a big fan of the guy, so I can admit wanting to like the film. The performances were odd, but good in a human way, with John Leguizamo being the most memorable in a smaller role. The plot didn't have the M.Night twist, just some possible theories as to what the heck is going on, which was interesting. I dunno, it's debatable either way, but I'd say give this movie a fair shake, and let me know what you think.

The Game Plan: So I tested the new Netflix player for the Mac with this movie, and I thought it was a nice, funny, family flick. The Rock is always cool to watch, but the little girl who plays his daughter is the real standout. Decent movie that I expected very little from. The jury is still out on the Mac player though, as it has some kinks, but it's only the Beta version, and I'm just excited that they finally have this option.

Sukiyaki Western Django: Now here's a dozy. Prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike took one of the seminal Spaghetti Westerns, Django, spiced it up with equal parts ancient and post modern Japanese flair, and came up with one hell of wacky mashup film. It's a homage to not only Django, but to all Spaghettis in its own interesting way. First off, all of the actors perform their lines in English, and while some pull it off, most sound really bad. I think this is Miike saying this is what it would've sounded like if all of the Italian actors weren't dubbed in the old movies, although I'm not sure why. Quentin Tarantino makes a cameo and sounds even worse! The action is pretty darn good however, and the characters are pretty distinct and quirky. It's definitely worth checking out, of course it may try your tolerance levels.

Wall E: I mentioned earlier about how other animations don't measure up to Pixar's, well here's the perfect example, as bringing up the rear of this Movies post is Pixar's latest, Wall-E. This is beautiful, masterful film making, and a true testament to Pixar's dedication to art and craft. (not to be confused with arts and crafts!) Wall-E is about a garbage robot in a bleak future where humans have been forced to leave Earth. Yet, Wall-E continues to work, and has actually developed what seem like emotions. His world is turned upside down though, when a scout robot lands, and he falls heads over treads over her! They soon embark on a space adventure to return the humans to Earth. The film is especially beautiful because for most of the film there is no actual dialogue, just lots of noises by the robots, yet it's completely understandable. All of the well earned credit goes to sound engineer Ben Burtt for going above and beyond with this film. I can't say enough about the heart of this story either, it's just so sweet, and makes you feel really good. I loved it, please see this if you already haven't.

MY PICK: Obviously it's Wall-E. This is a must see for fans of not only animation, but of all film in general. I can't see too many people not liking this one. Second to Wall-E, I say Hellboy 2 is a fine bet for a good, fun night in.

I hope you dug these reviews; now go watch some movies!